As christians we do not belong to this world, yet we have to live in it. We have to deal with it breaking into our reality, deal with its rules and its inhabitants. We have to deal with it in a christian way, sending a beacon of God’s love into this reality while we are waiting for the Great Hereafter. We have to do it with flexibility and with a clear eye for what we have around us.
It’s a question of Life.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
There are two things we have to admit; 1. not everyone’s faith are up to our tastes, 2. we don’t see behind the masque of other human beings. This is one of the reasons Jesus asks us not to judge. Only God can see the entire human; all her intentions, all her reasons for all her actions. We do only see snippets and fragments, which makes it easy to fall prey for prejudice. Think of it. When we stand on the doorstep to the afterlife, do anyone of us want to be judged on those premises?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Matt 7:1 and 2
You make contraceptives a question of life, or rather a destroyer of life. By US law companies have to pay for the wellfare of their employees and you have just succeeded in getting an exempt from paying the pills on religious grounds. I admit I am lucky; as owner of a company in Sweden I don’t have to think along those lines – simply because I pay these things as a person, through my taxes, with no chance to exeptions. I say I’m lucky, because this makes it obvious what this is about. It’s not a thing for me to judge, it’s not a question of my faith – it’s a question of obeying the rules of my country, my world, and the ”Caesar” I live under.
They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
It’s as easy to get as riled up over contraceptives as over abortion, espicially when you tie the two together. Life and death is involved, and dearly do we want to chose the right side. It’s seducingly easy to chose the ‘no abortions line’ since we get a clear answer; all babies concieved lives. Or do they? We’re so happy in making this choice for others, that we forget that this path is riddled with death and destruction too. The fact that you can send away a child for adoption doesn’t mean you do, and the high percentage of teenage mothers in the US speaks for a reality where many keep their child. Among those unwilling parents are those who puts their kids through mental and physical torture, sometimes ending in murder. Illegal abortions kills young women and mothers alike, in the last case leaving kids without one parent to provide for them, putting them at risk to starve to death. Remeber that we can’t say that a pregnancy may turn into a happy parent-child relationship if the parent gets the right help, because by refusing to pay contraceptives as a company, the question gets pushed up to a level where we are talking about groups, not individuals. Our duty as christians is to increase the percentage of happy families in these groups first and foremost.
Being a mother myself I know the joys and pitfalls of parenthood. It’s hard work, and sometimes the only thing that made me claw through to be a good mother, was the fact that I had chose to become a parent. It’s hinted at Mary having the same choice, despite the words of Gabriel – at that’s logical since she had an even bigger workload, raising a child that would become the Saviour of this world.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
As christians we’re supposed to imitate God – imitatio dei is as old as christianity itself. Through contraceptives we have a unique chance to do so. You can’t chose to be a mother unless the alternative, not becoming a mother, is real. Why should we go against the example of God? Add to that the fact that a healthy marriage require an active and healthy sexlife, and that a big part of the contraceptives used are consumed for this purpose. Not all couples wants a baby every other year, can use condoms or ”God’s loophole”. Come to think of it, not all couples can feed more than one or two children – to us it’s not a question of a kid or a car (since we sold the car long ago), it’s the question of a healthy kid with a full belly or three ailing, starving kids. Another fact is that some contraceptives are used to regulate menstruation to save lives of women who bleed too much each month. Most of use have a friend with this problem without knowing it. Menstruation is not something you discuss in the same way you discuss haircuts, and the last person you want to went it with is probably your boss.
By refusing to pay contraceptives you are putting heavy pressures on those who needs it the least; those who scramble to put food on the table each day, and where even an unexpected 20$ bill is a catastrophe. Or in other words, you’re putting pressures on the least of our brothers and sisters. You are saying you’re doing it to preserve life, yet your actions impose woe and death on persons you are explicity told not to judge. The only persons who fully knows what’s behind the need for contraceptives are the person taking it and God. To refuse this part of the healthcare scheme is inflexible and only possible if you blind yourself to reality. Yes, as christians we’re are not of this world, and this world doesn’t know us, but to be able to send a beacon of God’s love into it we need thourough knowledge about it and act from that. You are sending the selfish message that your judgement on others are more important than love and life – and you are doing it in the name of christianity – which includes me – and in the name of God. If I were you I’d thoroughly examine if this is a good idea. Remember that we’re all preparing for the Great Hereafter.